Dr Laurie Corna and Professor Karen Glaser on “Work, retirement, health and care” April 15th

We are delighted to announce our upcoming SSHM Seminar Series event. Karen Glaser and Laurie Corna(Institute of Gerontology, SSHM, KCL) will present on behalf of the WHERL project research group: “Work, retirement, health and care: An introduction to the WHERL project”.

The Seminar will place on Wednesday 15th April from 13:00-14:30 in Room K.6.63, King’s Building, Strand Campus, King’s College London.

Abstract: Increases to average life expectancy, declining fertility, and the movement of the ‘baby-boom’ cohorts into the traditional retirement years, have all fuelled concerns about individual financial wellbeing in later life and the sustainability of public pensions.  The response—implemented in various forms and to varying degrees cross-nationally—involves packages of reforms that limit or close alternative early labour market exit pathways (e.g., via disability pensions) and increase the age at which individuals become eligible for a public pension. However, the emphasis on the promised ‘double dividend’ of longer working lives –greater personal income for the individual and postponed reliance on public pension schemes—has obscured attention from how these changes have the potential to exacerbate existing disparities and generate new forms of inequality (financial, health, or otherwise). It also fails to address the (in)compatibility of paid work and informal care.

In this presentation we introduce the programme of research addressed in the Well-being, Health, Retirement and the Lifecourse (WHERL) project.  WHERL is a cross-research council funded consortium that aims to assess the lifecourse determinants and consequences for health and wellbeing of working up to and beyond state pension age, with a particular focus on social inequalities. We will present the results from the first work package that models the very detailed employment and family histories of current cohorts of older adults showing how gender and cohort have important implications for understanding the lives of older adults as they approach the traditional retirement years.  We also present some preliminary findings on the associations between employment histories, social circumstances at age 55 and subsequent employment.

Karen Glaser: After finishing her PhD in Sociology (specialising in demography) at the Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, Karen came to Britain and worked with Professors Emily Grundy and Mike Murphy on the ESRC funded project ‘Intergenerational Relationships and Household Change’. Although her PhD focused on the fertility consequences of cohabiting unions in Costa Rica, she developed a long-standing interest in the family lives of older people through her work on this latter project. She went on to combine her interests in ageing, family structure, marriage and cohabitation, examining them from an international comparative perspective.

Laurie Corna: Laurie’s background is in social gerontology and critical social theory within the broader field of public health. Her research is principally concerned with better understanding health and economic inequalities among older adults in the context of the life course and in comparative perspective.  Her current program of research includes a comparison of methods for modeling detailed labour market and family histories and a project assessing how gendered labour market and family experiences shape health inequalities among older adults in four theoretically relevant welfare states. She is also involved in collaborative projects assessing poverty and health dynamics among working age adults in comparative perspective using multiple process latent transition models; the health implications of the push to keep older adults in the later market longer; and the consequences of the increasing privatization of retirement (government retrenchment from public pensions and the necessity to save privately) for economic inequalities among older women.

For more information about our SSHM Seminar Series, please visit:http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/sshm/research/RSS.aspx

For recordings of selected seminars, please visit:http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/sshm/research/Research-Labs/RSS-Recordings.aspx

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